Rain Barrels: Colorado Common Sense

By Rep. Jessie Danielson

Colorado is the only state in the nation that outlaws the use of rain barrels to collect water off of our roofs to use in our gardens.

In a state where people are dedicated to conserving natural resources – including every drop of precious water – it makes sense to change the law to let people set up a couple of rain barrels, save some water, and use it to grow their tomatoes and flowers.

That’s why I am again sponsoring legislation that would legalize rain barrels. The bill, HB16-1005, that I’m bringing with Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo) is simple. It will allow homeowners to collect rainwater in one or two 55 gallon barrels on their property. The water could only be used on that property, and could only be used outside – not for drinking.

Many constituents have come to me to tell me how rain barrels would help them. Some have water that runs onto their sidewalk, but they would rather use it to water their plants and flowers. Some people are worried about water damage because their gutters empty near the foundation of their homes or into their window wells.

Over the summer, Colorado State University came out with research that confirms there would be no negative impact on downstream users – like agriculture and others. In fact, this bill will help cities use less drinking water on outdoor gardens. I grew up on a farm in Colorado, and as a farmer’s daughter, I can tell you that legalizing rain barrels just makes good Colorado common sense.

When I talk to friends and neighbors in my district and across the state, they are surprised this is illegal right now. These folks have made it loud and clear that they want this bill to pass. It’s time for Colorado to join the other 49 states and fix this outdated law.

Jessie Danielson is the State Representative for Colorado House District 24

op-edRachel Caine